Judge Won't Halt Pa. Voter Identification Law

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Corbett, a Republican, signed the law in March after every single Democratic lawmaker voted against it.

At issue is the requirement that all Pennsylvania voters produce a valid photo ID before their ballot can be counted, a substantial change from the law it was designed to replace. That law required identification only for people voting in a polling place for the first time and it allowed nonphoto documents such as a utility bill or bank statement.

Some of the people who sued say they will be unable to vote because they lack the necessary documents, including a birth certificate, to get a state photo ID, the most widely available of the IDs that are valid under the new law.

The lawyers who provided free legal representation to the plaintiffs also warned that it will be difficult for many others to get a valid ID, and they presented testimony about workers at Department of Transportation license centers who appeared uninformed about the requirement to issue free nondriver photo IDs.

In addition, some voters won't know about the law until they get to the polls, and long waits will result while untrained election workers struggle to carry out a complicated and unnecessary law amid the traditionally larger turnout in presidential elections, they argued.

Lawyers from the attorney general's office, which defended the law, pointed out that the state is planning to begin issuing a special photo ID card for registered voters who are unable to get a PennDOT-issued ID and lack other acceptable photo IDs, such as passports or active-duty military IDs. The state also is rolling out a public relations campaign to make people aware of the law.

Meanwhile, Obama's Department of Justice is looking at whether the law complies with federal laws and has asked state officials for a long list of information about it.

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